jeudi, mars 27

John ought to wash his neck

Last week I borrowed an old book entitled "Essential English" from my roommate to use with the student I tutor. Having only quickly glanced through the book I wasn't aware of how archaic and how very British it was until we came upon an exercise involving the negation of ought and shall. I laughed under my breath as my student said, "I shan't go to the pictures after this Test Paper." Of course "John oughtn't wash his neck" was as brilliant of a phrase as I've heard in a long time. The poor child thought I was laughing at her until I translated the sentence into French so that she could understand the absurdity. It reminded me of when I had conversation classes with a French speaker in Minneapolis to help improve his accent. I had him read articles aloud from the Onion...is it my fault that the Onion is extra hilarious when read in a heavy French accent? Oh my foreign fellows please do forgive me, I dearly love to laugh.

2 commentaires:

Alisa a dit…

oh man... even current grammar books still have sections about 'shall'... it is insane.

other gems:
- i have had two older french people ask me what my 'christian name' is. i had to laugh before i figured out they were asking what my first name is. how crazy they were taught that in school! 'what is your christian name?' 'it is tom'. HUH?
- a friend borrowed a lycée level english book from a friend, i think it was published in the late 80s/early 90s, and in a little game about nationalities, there was the N word. just hanging out around 'french' 'german' 'chinese' and some colors... we couldn't believe it.

Alice a dit…

it's not funny ! ;) you have no idea how hard it is for a french person to speak english !! we don't have it ANYWHERE. everything is synchronied on tv, cinema etc.. so no english in our surrounding, if we want to learn, we need an extra effort ! so people just give up.. and the accent is so hard, lets take the "th" sound, in french if you speak french with that "th" sound, it means you have a pronounciation defect, so in english class, people are ashamed to say "th" so they go "Ze cat" "Ve cat" and so on.. sad sad sad..
i am french, living in Denmark, where even homeless people are fluent in english, no joke, and i am having such a hard time pronouncing words (in english) that i developped a huge stutter, made of shame/stress/french factor so please, give us a break !!! haha